If you have friends or family members who are waiting to adopt, you know how tough it can be for waiting adoptive parents. Nothing is in their control and they have no idea when they might be matched with an expectant mother. In short, it’s stressful.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can help support the parents-to-be as they wait:
Ask Them How the Adoption Process is Going
When asking about the adoption process, don’t ask insensitive questions like: When will you get a baby? Why is it taking so long? Isn’t the wait killing you? These questions just remind them that there is very little they can do at this point besides wait.
Instead, ask them very general questions about adoption like: How is the adoption process going? How exactly does the adoption process work? These questions allow them to take the reins of the conversation. They can either answer briefly or go into details, depending on their comfort level. A general rule of thumb is to avoid mentioning their future child unless they bring it up first.
Don’t Share Your Horrible Adoption Stories with Them
The worst thing you can do to a waiting adoptive family (who is already filled to the brim with nerves) is to repeat horror stories from coworkers or things you’ve read online. Don’t tell them about your office mate who waited 6 years before finally meeting their child. Don’t bring up a news article you read about birth parents gaining custody of the child back. These are extremely rare occurrences.
Be positive when talking to waiting parents and remind them that even though the wait is hard, it will all be worth it when they can finally hold their child in their arms.
Take Their Minds Off the Wait
Waiting adoptive parents are really good at thinking about their adoption 24/7. Offering a small escape from adoption world is a great way to help them relax and remember to enjoy life. So, invite them to a movie or an upcoming sporting event. Or any other fun activity that might help take their minds off of the adoption for a while, if only for a short time.
Be Careful About What You Say
As I said before, it’s important that you are sensitive about topics that may be painful to discuss. Saying to a waiting adoptive mother “At least you don’t have to go through the pain of labor,” is likely to bring up feelings of grief and inadequacy that surround her fertility struggles.
Don’t ask them if they are afraid the birth parents will come back down the road and want their child back. This is a common fear among adoptive parents, but the truth of the matter is that legally completed adoptions are nearly impossible to reverse. It is all too easy to accidentally say something insensitive when you don’t know much about the topic, which brings me to our next point.
Take a few minutes to do a quick Google search on adoption. Learn how adoption works. Learn about home studies, adoption profiles, and birth mothers. This will help you understand what they’re going through and all the complexities of adoption. When you know how adoption works you may at least be able to understand what your friends are talking about when they mention FBI clearances and revocation periods.